It was spectacular and glamorous when a three-day tournament concluded on Friday as Senegalese boys and Malian girls emerged as the Giants of Africa Festival champions, after defeating Cameroonian boys and Cameroon girls respectively.
Over 250 youth campers from 16 countries participated in this competition, which was one of many events taking place at the Giants of Africa Festival. There were 97 matches.
The games were played for a duration of 20 minutes, 5 minutes per quarter, instead of the normal 40 minutes and were set up in a round-robin format. The teams that won the most games progressed to the semifinals, where the finalists were determined.
Senegalese boys overthrew their Cameroonian counterparts for the trophy as they beat them 26-24 in championship games.
Cameroonian youngsters maintained the lead until late in the last quarter when Senegal took them and four quarters ended in a 24-24 tie. The pair were forced to play one additional minute to settle the battle which led to two points scored by Senegal and grabbed the victory.
In the girls’ championship, Mali comfortably beat Cameroon 32-20 to be crowned as the queens of Giants of Africa.
Prior to the finals, there was an all-star game of these campers which brought together 40 players from all 16 countries.
Each country had one player handpicked by coaches based on their performance and skill during the tournament.
The best-of-the-best squared off in two coed teams, Team Madiba and Team Mandela, which ended with Team Mandela taking the triumph.
Cameroonian Arnold Eyadi was named the boys’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Giants of Africa tournament, and Mama Cisse of Mali was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in girls. Both were offered prizes, including $2,500.
“Believe in yourself, we saw it here today, you are all unbelievable. Dream big, you can become anything you want,” Masai Ujili, President and founder of Giants of Africa told the campers while concluding the boys’ and girls’ championship games.
The Toronto Raptors power forward Precious Achiuwa, a Nigerian attended the championship games, and Masai called him to address the crowd.
“Thank you to Masai for putting this together, this is really amazing. For me, this is very dare to my heart because I was once a camper of Giants of Africa camp in Lagos, Nigeria, a long time ago,” said Achiuwa.